A lot is on the line when the Houston Texans (6-6) take on the Indianapolis Colts (6-6) on Sunday. The winner of this game will be in total control of their path to the playoffs while the loser will need help to make the cut.
If the Texans want to halt their free-fall, Brock Osweiler has to step it up. Not only does Osweiler have to avoid backbreaking turnovers, he has to also make big plays as well. Against the Packers last week, Osweiler didn’t turn the ball over, but he didn’t make enough big plays to win, throwing for barely over 200 yards in the entire game.
On the flip side, the Colts’ entire defense unit is dreadful. Indianapolis ranks 28th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game, allowing opposing quarterbacks to throw for an average of 273 yards a game. Their front seven isn’t much better, allowing an average of 110 rushing yards a game, which ranks 20th in the league.
The only real threat to the Texans is Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. Last Monday against the Jets, Luck completed 22 of 28 passes for 278 yards and four scores. Luck has been the cornerstone player on the Colts and won some games with little or no help from his teammates. Even with a horrific offensive line, Luck still finds a way to elude defenders and get the ball where he wants it.
However, Houston’s secondary is one of their biggest strengths, and only allowed Aaron Rodgers to throw for 209 yards and two scores on his own home turf. The Texans’ secondary ranks fifth in the NFL in passing yards allowed.
Colts running back Frank Gore became the NFL’s eighth all-time leading rusher last week. While Houston’s front seven is a lot less scary without J.J. Watt, Indianapolis’ offensive line will somehow still find a way to make life difficult for their running back. If Gore does get shut down, this game will all come down to how Luck performs.
The winner of this game will be whichever quarterback has more success. Houston’s play under center has been horrific, but so has the Colts’ secondary. Meanwhile, Indianapolis’ play at quarterback has been fantastic (when Luck is healthy) and the Texans’ secondary is among the best in the league.
Over the course of 2016, Osweiler has proven to be untrustworthy, while Luck has proven to be a franchise quarterback over the course of his career. Since the Texans can’t seem to beat competent teams on the road, the Colts should walk out of Lucas Oil Stadium with a win.
Prediction: Colts over Texans 24-20